UK: Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose launch new delivery scheme
With supermarkets changing rules during the coronavirus lockdown, making a trip to the shops has become more difficult for some. Supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose have signed up for a new delivery scheme to help vulnerable customers get food delivered quickly. The new delivery scheme has been introduced to help those unable to shop in stores. In March, the UK government announced a lockdown that encouraged Britons to stay indoors as much as possible. Vulnerable shoppers or their families can purchase a digital supermarket voucher and fill out an online shopping list. This can be done by visiting the Huggg website and entering the information. An alert will be sent to the British Red Cross volunteer network and the order will be picked up. The shopping is bought by a volunteer using the voucher and delivered quickly to the customers' door all while complying with social distancing rules. Any money that is leftover on vouchers is then returned to be used at a later date. The vouchers will be available to use in the supermarkets Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose.
Dubai: Drive-thru grocery shopping launched at Union Coop
Union Coop in the UAE has launched a new ‘drive-thru’ shopping service that allows consumers to shop from their vehicle, at Mirdif branch in Etihad Mall. The hours of the drive-thru shopping service are the same of as that of the Mirdif branch. The company claims that this initiative is the first of its kind shopping service in the Middle East. Khalid Humaid Bin Diban Al Falasi, CEO of Union Coop, said, “In his private vehicle, the consumer enters the designated area in the parking of Etihad Mall, and is served by service staff without the need to get out of his vehicle, after which the value of products can be paid in various ways such as Cash, Debit / Credit Cards and Al Afdhal Card.” The new service offers more than 130 basic food and non-food products.
UK: Asda launches ‘virtual queuing’ trial at Yorkshire store
Leeds-headquartered supermarket chain Asda has begun trialling a “virtual queuing” system to help its stores contend with the COVID-19 emergency. The system means people can log into the queue remotely and wait in their cars to enter stores. Asda is testing the virtual queuing system at its branch in Middleton, near Leeds and notes that two-thirds of customers are still concerned about their safety in supermarkets. Chief executive Roger Burnley said it was clear COVID-19 will continue to be part of people’s lives for months to come.
Kenya: Tuskys delays supplier, rent payments on cash flow hitch
Tuskys Supermarkets is delaying and reducing payments to suppliers, banks and landlords, citing constrained cash flows due to the impact of coronavirus on its business. The retailer has written to suppliers, informing them that even recently renegotiated payment terms may not be honoured on the agreed timeline. Tuskys has blamed measures taken to control the spread of the coronavirus such as social distancing and reduced operating hours for lower traffic in its stores. The retailer has shut some branches and merged others in a bid to stem losses at the individual store level. The retail chain has also pushed for a cut on rent for its stores and deferred payment, highlighting the effects of the virus on businesses.
UK: British supermarkets threaten Brazil boycott over Amazon land law
Leading British supermarket chains have warned Brazil they may be forced to boycott its goods if lawmakers in the South American country pass a bill that would “encourage further land grabbing” in the Amazon. In an open letter to Brazilian senators and deputies, the companies said they were “deeply concerned” about Provisional Measure 910, which is backed by President Jair Bolsonaro. The measure, which has to be approved by the National Congress, legalizes informal settlements on federal public lands and grants property titles to those occupying the land, according to the Climate Policy Initiative think tank. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has surged under far-right climate change skeptic Bolsonaro, who wants to open protected lands to farming and mining.
US: Bob Mariano to launch supermarket chain in Chicago
Bob Mariano’s decision to develop a new fleet of supermarkets is the latest chapter in his storied career in Chicago’s grocery industry. The project will give him a chance to again shake up the city's grocery market, where he earned a reputation as an innovator. Dom's Market & Kitchen will also offer in-store dining, allowing shoppers to watch food being prepared and holding events such as wine tastings, Owen said in a statement to Crain's. The move toward in-store experiences has ramped up over the past several years as retailers try to make their locations a destination for guests, from gourmet meal and wine tastings at Jungle Jim's in Ohio to a bar and food trucks on the roof at Whole Foods in Atlanta's flagship store.
US: Kroger retracts demand that workers return extra COVID-19 pay
Kroger has had a change of heart over what it recently deemed "overpayments" to quarantined workers on COVID-19 emergency leave. The nation's biggest supermarket chain is reversing its previous demand that the employees repay the extra money or face the wrath of bill collectors. The company isn't disclosing how many workers received the additional pay, saying only that it involved associates paid to remain at home after reporting coronavirus symptoms, testing positive for COVID-19 or who were otherwise quarantined.
US: Walmart sales surge at stores and online on coronavirus-led demand
Walmart Inc emerged among the winners of the coronavirus lockdowns, beating Wall Street’s quarterly revenue and profit forecasts and setting an online sales record as millions of consumers stocked up on food and cleaning supplies. Walmart, like many other essential businesses, has seen a surge in demand late in March and early in April, with consumers limiting their trips to the grocers under “shelter-in-place” orders but stockpiling staples. The company offered little insight beyond that and pulled its forecast for the full year, citing uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Walmart’s online business grew 74% in the first quarter ended April 30, as its investments in store pick-up and delivery paid off at the time when demand for such services soared. That drove their sales volumes to records, with the number of new customers rising four times since mid-March.
US: 'Food price escalation won’t change Aldi’s formula'
Following news of historical U.S. food price increases, Aldi CEO Jason Hart has pledged to hold the line on savings for shoppers. In a letter to Aldi customers yesterday, Hart said the hard-discount supermarket chain won’t veer from its focus on providing everyday low prices for groceries, despite industry-wide supply-chain challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic. “It seems as though, in the blink of an eye, everything has changed. While just about every aspect of our lives might look a little different now, including grocery shopping, I want to assure you that one thing will never change at Aldi: our commitment to offering you the lowest prices, every day,” Hart stated in the letter. “We know you love Aldi for our great prices, and those prices aren’t going anywhere, no matter what.”
US: Wegmans awards scholarships to more than 1,800 employees
Wegmans Food Markets plans to award college tuition assistance to 1,842 new recipients for the upcoming academic year. The Rochester, N.Y.-based regional grocer said Tuesday that, through the Wegmans Employee Scholarship Program, it expects to pay out about $5 million in tuition assistance to new and returning scholarship recipients during the 2020-21 school year. Under the program, part-time employee scholarship recipients can receive up to $1,500 per year for four years (a maximum of $6,000), and full-time employees can receive up to $2,200 per year for four years (up to $8,800 total).